Pneumatic solution to brings control closer to the process in food application

23 October 2012

The AirLINE Quick valve island solution from Bürkert has helped to reduce installation costs, improve operating integrity and deliver ongoing economies in the control of up to 2000 pneumatic process components operating on a new dessert and yoghurt line installed by FrieslandCampina at a plant in Germany.

The project, an early application for AirLINE Quick, demonstrates the operating and cost-saving advantages of the new smart system in strict hygienic environments characterised by harsh cleaning elements and water.

The project was a collaboration between FrieslandCampina, Bürkert and the Stuttgart-based VA Group. Previously, 300,000 litres of fresh milk were processed daily in Gutersloh for dessert and yoghurt products. This capacity has now been significantly increased by the construction of a new production building and the launch of a flexible production line for blancmange and yoghurt products, which was completely linked up by mid-2012, following the completion of no less than five parallel packaging lines.

In designing and installing the production line, which consists of a computer-controlled system with a branched network of stainless steel pipes, pumps, mixers, heaters and sterile tanks that can hold up to 12,000 litres, the plant engineers relied on Bürkert’s compact Type 8640 system: AirLINE Quickvalve islands installed in hygienic design (HD) enclosures from Rittal.

Almost 2,000 pneumatic process components are needed to inject and help circulate the diverse media in the complex system, in which an automatic clean-in-place (CIP) cleaning and disinfection system for all the piping and tanks is also integrated. Several tonnes of heavy pneumatic actuators are installed – equipped with initiators for optical status monitoring in huge pneumatic nodes. These are laid out in a way that allows them to be reached via walk-on metal catwalks for quick and easy servicing. The process valve nodes, which control the specific medium currently conveyed and in which dosage – are controlled by a total of 42 HD enclosures, each with 24-station, IP65 rated, AirLINE Quick valve islands, including digital inputs for feedback.

The configuration for FrieslandCampina employs Profibus DP communications. The bulk of the pneumatic enclosures lined up in rank and file order, very close to the valve nodes and are therefore installed in the middle of the hygiene-sensitive process field.

“Where once 20, 30 or even 50m had been necessary, sometimes just 5m is enough to get from the enclosure to the actuator or sensor with this optimised installation,” said Kai-Ulrich Seifer, Burkert’s national key account for the Food and Beverage sector. “Cost reductions are further reinforced by the fact that the entire system is of hygienic construction. This, in turn, reduces the costs of the cleaning process.”

“Pneumatic enclosures so close to the process took some getting used to – especially as we have always had to be careful in the past when cleaning. However, we have now realised that these necessary cleaning procedures are always completed without problems,” concluded dairy foreman, Tim Borgstaedt.

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